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Raphael is a phytoplankton ecologist who wishes to understand the fundamental question: what controls phytoplankton growth and distribution in the ocean? More specifically, how do the multiple interactions of light, macro- and micronutrients and phytoplankton physiology determine the rates, processes, and patterns we observe in the marine environment?


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Kendra is interested in the application of molecular tools and techniques to better understand harmful algal bloom ecology and toxicity.  Her Masters thesis focused on developing a QPCR method to indentify Pseudo-nitzchia species at the Monterey Wharf.  She’s become more involved with algal toxin analysis since joining the Kudela Lab and her current projects include monitoring at the Santa Cruz Wharf and SCOOP.

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Anna completed her masters in 2008. While a student in the Kudela lab, she investigated methods for estimating iron concentrations in coastal waters remotely, and participated in the Gulf of Alaska and Wind to Whales cruises. Currently, Anna is working on creating and updating educational websites and tools for the lab, as well as working with the lab's Imaging FlowCytobots.

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Alexis is a Delta Science Postdoctoral Fellow who is interested in the physical, chemical, and biological factors that promote development of blooms, especially harmful algal blooms (HABs). To explore phytoplankton dynamics on daily timescales in the Monterey Bay and San Francisco Bay, she uses an automated underwater robot that generates high resolution images of particles in flow called the Imaging FlowCytobot (IFCB). A machine learning classifier is used to identify particles as different species of phytoplankton (much like facial recognition). Alexis completed her PhD in Biological Oceanography in the MIT - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program with Dr. Donald Anderson. Her dissertation focused on cyst dormancy cycling and bloom initiation of Alexandrium catenella, a HAB dinoflagellate that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning. 



Regina began her PhD in the Kudela Lab in the fall of 2010 and is interested in the growth and toxicity of the mixotrophic dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella. She earned her MS in Marine Biology from San Francisco State. Here she focused on the nitrogen uptake capabilities and domoic acid production of Pseudo-nitzchia multiseries. While here at UCSC, Regina has finished up some preliminary work to determine that A. catenella ingests the microalga haptophyte I. galbana using a probe previously used by Nilo called Lysosensor. Click here for full summary.

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Cristián began his Phd in the Kudela lab in 2014. He has a bachelor degree in Marine Biology from Universidad de Magallanes in Chile. He earned his MSc on Aquatic Biology from Swansea University in the United Kingdom. His area of interest and specialty are toxic dinoflagellates. Cristián is culturing these dinoflagellates to discover what triggers their toxicity under different scenarios. This information can help us understand in which conditions blooms are formed and how toxic they are.

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Jesse is focusing his Ph.D. work on improving our understanding of large-scale trends in phytoplankton ecology using ocean color satellites. Presently, he is working on improving our ability to measure chlorophyll concentrations in coastal waters. Jesse received his bachelor's degree in biology (Clark University) and his Masters Degree in marine ecology (Hebrew University of Jerusalem). He enjoys teaching and is an avid swimmer.

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Meredith began as a PhD student in the Kudela lab in the fall of 2015.  She completed her BS and MS research under Richard Zimmerman at Old Dominion University studying in situ optical properties of coastal waters as an undergrad student, and developed a mechanistic model to predict the impact of environmental conditions on carbon uptake and isotope discrimination in Eelgrass (Zostera marina) as a graduate student.  While in the Kudela lab, Meredith plans to build on her previous experiences by broadly focusing on remote sensing as a tool for understand the biogeochemistry of coastal systems.  Stay tuned for more details as she develops her dissertation research!

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Henry works on developing remote sensing tools to characterize phytoplankton groups in coastal zones. He’s particularly interested in using ocean color spectra to identify diatoms and dinoflagellates in Monterey Bay, which would be a useful tool for coastal monitoring groups. He also hopes to apply remote sensing of phytoplankton to improve our understanding of how upwelling and stratification affect diatom and dinoflagellate competition in the California Current.

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Niky joined the Kudela lab as a PhD student in the fall of 2017 after receiving a BS in Environmental Science from th University of New Mexico. Her interests include using ocean remote sensing tools to study phytoplankton ecology and physiology off the California coast. Currently she is interested in developing optical and remote sensing methods for identifying the production of algal toxins in different water bodies.

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